Water from construction pit at old U-Hall site caused fish kill

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- City and state officials have determined the cause of a recent fish kill near an area park.

In an update from the city of Charlottesville, staff from the city, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the University of Virginia determined Thursday's fish kill was caused by water from a contaminated construction pit.

The release says water from the pit flowed into a stormwater system drain near Massie Road on the former site of University Hall.

The DEQ performed water quality monitoring at several locations, which found very high pH and conductivity levels in Meadow Creek near John Paul Jones Arena.

The tests also found relatively normal levels of pH and conductivity in the Meadowcreek Gardens Park.

An investigation found the stormwater system drain that runs into the creek by the intersection of Emmet Street and Massie Road was the source of the contamination leading to the fish kill.

The specific source was determined to be a construction pit on the former U-Hall site where rain had mixed with concrete dust that was then pumped into drain lines.

That stormwater line has now been blocked and crews will clear any lines that may still contain contamination. They will also no longer pump water out of the pit and into the storm drain.

The release adds recent rainfall has helped flush out of the contamination, but people and pets should still avoid contact with the water in the area until further notice.

More testing will be conducted over the next few days.

Officials say there is no impact to the drinking water system because Meadow Creek does not feed into any of the area reservoirs.

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